EXCLUSIVE: LFS outlines £14m relocation and upgrade to Barbican site by 2016.

london Film school

After many years of searching, the London Film School has finally found a new home in London’s Barbican.

The Corporation of London has offered the LFS a 50-year lease on Exhibition Hall 1, a 32,000ft2 space in Golden Lane, currently controlled by the Barbican Arts Centre.

The school, currently based in London’s Covent Garden, is hoping to move to the new venue in autumn 2015 or early 2016.

The LFS’ proposed Barbican move has been well-known within the industry but has recently gained traction with LFS director Ben Gibson recently speaking to ScreenDaily about the plans.

“This move is one of the worst kept secrets in the industry,” admitted Gibson. “We have been trying to re-house for six or seven years but this is the first time we have found the right deal in the right place.”

The estimated cost of the move is around $21m (£14m) - raised in stages - with $12m (£8m) allocated to the construction fit-out, $6m (£4m) for a technological upgrade of the school’s facilities and $3m (£2m) for fundraising and “other projects”.

The current plan offers a 130-seat main cinema, two sound stages, seven large teaching rooms including a second screen, four seminar rooms and accommodation for technical departments and teachers.

According to Gibson, the funds for the move and upgrade will come from a combination of Lottery grant, the BFI’s capital fund, the school’s own accrued capital, a bank facility, major donations and smaller gifts.

The tech upgrade will include a digital production facility with green screen, and a digital silo server system covering post-production and film library services.

The new building is expected to grow the LFS’ programme of public screenings, lectures, schools outreach, collaborations with industry bodies and will allow for an international filmmaker-in-residence programme.

Gibson is also intending to operate parts of the venue as a public entertainment space, with more partnerships with arts organisations.

“We’re trying to form partnerships for the space where people think of film as tied to the other art forms,” explained Gibson. “We will have a second studio which will be dedicated to cross platform work with the likes of RADA and the National Gallery.”

Currently situated in Shelton Street and Long Acre, Covent Garden, the LFS was founded in 1956. The Shelton Street lease expires in 2017.

Notable LFS graduates include Mike Leigh, Michael Mann, Duncan Jones and Tak Fujimoto.

Last year, LFS graduation films played in 130 festivals, winning 15 first prizes.